By Mohamed Farouk
With a soft music playing in the background, businesswoman Maria Krupasova started her business of coffee and cake with virtually no business experience.
Maria Krupasova moved from Slovakia in 2008 to start new life in the United Kingdom.
On a cold rainy Monday morning, while sipping her coffee, she explains how it all started:
” Ihave always been wresting with the idea of starting a business. But this was reinforced when, one whilst walking with my two and half year old daughter, i could not find somewhere where my daughter could play in town” she adds. that is when plans to open a cafe with child play went a notch higher”, she explains
After working in a logistics firm for six years as an account manager, she decided time for a career change.
” I decided i need a career change” Maria says. 18 months down the line, Maria is a proud business lady.
Maria points to the fact ” there is a lot of different cafes and each has a unique thing to offer”.
” My cafe has a child play area, it is family friendly and all families with children are welcome”.
Home made cakes are prepared on site and customer can pre-order them before they come to cafe to collect it.
” Our home made cakes are popular with customers because it is expertly prepared”, she points with a smile.
Maria points that parents with children and senior citizens are most popular customers in her cafe and frequent there at least three times a week.
Then there is professional workers who work in nearby offices who buy food like panini, sandwiches and toasties.
During the winter, Maria explains, customer drink hot beverages like tea, cappuccino, Latte, Mocca and Expresso..
Maria’s coffee is fresh and sourced directly from Market Harborough.
And in the Summer time customers enjoy freshly prepared smoothies and summer fruit.
Upstairs Maria has a special area for children to play. The charge is one £1.50 per child and it is unlimited. Maria says, in the afternoon between 11am and 3pm it is very busy.
when i put it to her prospects for the business, she is optimistic , adding her motto is, ‘onwards and upwards’.
The challenge for Maria is to keep her loyal customers and find new market. Of particular interest is students, who, she says will keep the business going.
Following UK’s decision to leave European Union on June last year, it had direct impact on her business.
” The climate of Brexit has brought about huge increase in prices, although we buy salad from Market, they in turn buy from warehouses in Netherlands, hence increase in prices”
Another challenge to Maria’s business is the falling in value of the Sterling Pound. This has forced Maria to increase the price of coffee in the shop.
” i never wanted to increase prices especially to our loyal customers, but for us to operate, we have to take painful decision. That hits you pretty hard”, she laments.
The legalities of the minimum wage had a detrimental effect on her business, this after Government increased it by 50 Pence.
” it is uncalled for, she says, of the minimum wage, but i guess i have to abide by it.
Maria says it is important to build rapport with her customers and even better to know them of their names.
she has a loyalty programme where for every six coffees customers buy, you get seventh one free.
Conrad James, a bus driver is one of her loyal customers. He says the place is friendly with excellent customer relations.
” it is a good family environment and we get discount”, he points.
48 The Drapery, Northampton, NN1 2HG
Opening hours: Monday- Friday: 8am- 6pm, Saturday: 9am- 6pm, Sunday: 10am-4pm